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Jamie Johnson
5 January 2014

The Pain Now is Part of the Joy Then

NOTE: This is a written version of the message I delivered to a group of residents at Kings Daughters Community Health & Rehabilitation Center on January 5, 2014.

The movie Shadowlands depicts the relationship between C.S. Lewis and Joy Gresham from friendship to marriage to Joy's death. As the film concludes, C.S. Lewis grieves Joy's passing and says, "Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I've been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal."

I shared a paraphrase of this quote with my mother. We have been in the process of cleaning out her house and getting it ready to sell. It's been an emotional time for all of us. We lost Dad just a few years ago. Mom and I were sitting on the couch and she wept over some sweet cards Dad had given her through the years. We looked at some and talked about the difficulty of the transition. I mentioned to her how we loved Dad (and still do). We love the house and the memories associated with it. The transition, while opening new opportunities, has its own layers of grief as a season of life is bid farewell, as Mom says, "Goodbye" to what has been her home for decades, as some things are let go. The quote from Shadowlands came to mind. I said to her that it hurts because we loved the house and the memories associated with it, including Pop. I shared with her how C.S. Lewis grieved the loss of his wife and paraphrased his quote: "The pain now is part of the joy then." The hurt is a sign of the love. The hurt is a sign of the happiness and joy we had.

Now, while happiness may ebb away, joy and love can continue. That said, it does not take away the hurt. As C.S. Lewis said, "That's the deal." Love is interesting as it seems free to give and if true, it is free to receive. Yet, there is a cost. The cost is pain. Parents know this first hand with a tantrumming toddler or a teenager who has gone astray. And anyone who has lost a loved one knows the pain and at the same time the love as he or she grieves.

Life has its battles, but pain is a cost of love? How can this be? For everyone this is true: You have either lost someone, will lose someone or will be one lost to others at some time in this journey called life, the only exception being the generation that experiences the Rapture. For the bulk of humanity, however, there will be loss. Loss will involve grief. Grief will involve pain. It is there you must ask God to meet you. So, we see how pain is a cost of love.

What about God's perfect love? Does it have a cost? Yes. What is it? The Cross. I remember struggling during my single years. I was walking and talking to God. I shared my concerns and then said to God that I knew He was omniscient and so knew my plight on that level, but I then mistakenly told Him He did not know what it was like to struggle with the circumstances I faced. The wind picked up and that's all I could hear in my ears and the thought came to me, God knows worse. I confessed my prideful accusation and realized that God knew what it was like to have an adulteress for a bride - a church that prostitutes herself with all sorts of idols. Yet, even then, Jesus was willing to die on the Cross for her sins. Why? Because He loved, loves and will forever love her. His love had the Cross in mind. That was the only way to reconcile us unto God. Mark 10:45 (NASB) says, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." And Jesus Himself said in John 15:13 (NASB), "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." And Jesus fulfilled that. He demonstrated the greatest love in giving His life for us.

In April 2010, I wrote about how true love must involve sacrifice. Sacrifice involves giving up something. Love has value because we give something up to love. At minimum, we give up ourselves. Giving up something involves loss. Loss involves grief. Grief involves pain. Now, before one erroneously applies the Transitive Law of mathematics to conclude that love is pain, let me be clear that it is not. Love is not pain, though one of the factors of love involves a level of pain -- a cost. Love also has factors of hope, faith, joy, happiness and others. There is a dying to self if one truly loves. However, in dying to self and living in Christ, there is joy; there is gain. Jesus said in Luke 9:23 that if someone comes after Him, then he must deny himself and take up his cross daily. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21 (NASB), "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." That is true if you know Christ. We all know pain, but not all know Christ. Do you know Him?

There has been pain, sometimes is pain, and will be pain in this life. God's love, however, does not leave us there. He has given a free gift of grace in His Son Jesus Christ. We celebrated His coming over Christmas. What did He come for? In our own works, in and of ourselves, we cannot please God. Jesus was different. Fully God and fully man, His Father called to Him during His baptism: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (Matthew 3:17, NASB). Jesus is the only One who can please God - His life, His death, His resurrection. Do you trust Him? In trusting Him, you are part of His bride. And though you face pain now, even out of love, He offers a love that involves His pain but also His peace. And in eternity, the pain will be gone as the love continues forever. Revelation 21:4 (NASB) says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NASB)

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